Scores of people have staged a protest in a northern German port city against the deployment and transport of NATO troops and weapons through the city.
The protest was held in the port city of Bremerhaven on Saturday.
US military hardware, including 87 tanks and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, were docked in the port city a day earlier for eventual transfer to NATO member countries in Eastern Europe to enhance what was described as “deterrence against possible Russian aggression.”
The protesters marched through the city, holding signs and banners that read, “No NATO deployments! End the militaristic march against Russia!” and “Out of NATO.”
“I am here to explain peace to Russians, because I am afraid of new wars… and this big maneuver is one that quite scares me, and I am here to speak against this,” a protester said.
The deployment by the US military, which also includes the mobilization of 4,000 troops, is aimed at shoring up NATO’s “Operation Atlantic Resolve,” which entails military buildup in Poland and the Baltic countries to counter perceived Russian aggression. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the move last year, declaring that the force would take part in regular military drills across the region with NATO allies.
Russia has repeatedly voiced concern about the US-led alliance’s military build-up near its borders. In response to NATO’s aggressive moves, Russia has beefed up its southwestern military capacity.
NATO has suspended all practical cooperation with Russia as part of efforts by the US, Europe, and their allies to exert pressure on the Kremlin following the Crimean Peninsula’s separation from Ukraine and adhesion to Russia. In 2014, the majority ethnic Russians in Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation in a referendum not sanctioned by the Ukrainian authorities.
Western countries have been fearful of a repeat of that scenario in other countries, and have sought to boost their defenses under NATO’s umbrella.
SALFIT – Israeli forces raided the town of Kifl Haris in the Salfit district of the central occupied West Bank overnight Saturday to provide protection for Israeli settlers visiting a site believed to be a Jewish shrine.
Eyewitness Yousif Yaqoub told Ma’an that he counted about 30 Israeli military vehicles storming the center of the town to escort the settlers, with Israeli soldiers firing stun grenades.
Israeli forces then set up military checkpoints at the entrances to Kifl Haris and imposed curfew, according to Yaqoub.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that overnight, “Israeli forces escorted Jewish pilgrims to the tomb of Joshua,” saying that the visit took place “without incident.”
A visit by settlers to the site earlier this month that was not carried out in coordination with the Israeli army sparked clashes with locals youth, prompting Israeli army forces to raid Kifl Haris, when a number of Israeli settlers were reportedly detained and interrogated over “violating Israeli military orders that bans Israelis from entering Palestinian districts.”
Residents of Kifl Haris have been living a continuous tension due to Israeli settlers’ raids to allegedly visit Jewish religious sites.
A number of tombs exist in Kifl Haris, which Palestinians in the area believe to be the graves of Muslim prophet Dhul-Kifl, the Sufi saint Dhul-Nun, and another shrine built by 12-century Sultan Saladin.
However, some Jews believe the tombs belong to the biblical figures Joshua, Caleb, and Nun.
Like many other Palestinian towns across the West Bank with religiously significant sites, Kifl Haris, situated on the main road connecting the illegal Ariel settlement to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, commonly experiences incursions by Israeli settlers accompanied by armed escorts.
Settlers who visit the tombs to pray often actively disrupt Palestinian residents and damage property.
Meanwhile, Palestinians are restricted from visiting holy sites in Israel without hard-to-obtain permits from Israeli authorities.
The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is US withdrawal of forces from the country and multilateral negotiations between main stakeholders to establish a national unity government, according to Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.
Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday while commenting on a US military announcement which says the Pentagon will deploy a new task force of approximately 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s restive Helmand Province, marking the return to a region where hundreds of troops were killed in fierce combat.
The forces with a unit called Task Force Southwest will deploy this spring to advise the Afghan army and police, senior Marine officers said Friday. The deployment will last nine months and is expected to evolve into a series of similar rotations for the Marines, officials said.
Professor Etler said, “With the lame duck Obama administration quickly coming to an end the question of the US/NATO presence in Afghanistan comes to the fore.”
“The Afghan war which began in 2001 has been the longest that the US has fought. After thousands of casualties and billions of dollars Afghanistan is less secure than any time since the US invasion with one third of the country under Taliban control and a plethora of Takfiri terrorist groups infiltrating the territory,” he stated.
“As things now stand the interminable US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan appears to be headed for another round of escalation,” the analyst noted.
Will Trump follow through on his vow to leave Afghanistan?
Professor Etler said that “there is a new administration set to be installed in Washington.”
“Trump has vociferously stated time and time again that Afghanistan is a rat hole into which the US has heedlessly sent thousands of US soldiers and spent billions of dollars to little if any effect. Trump in a tweet from 2013 succinctly said, ‘Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA,’” he stated.
“The question is will Trump once he’s in the White House live up to his words? And if he does what will happen to Afghanistan? Will it become a hot bed of Takfiri terrorism like Iraq and Syria? The Taliban are an indigenous force motivated by nationalist fervor to expel foreign occupiers of whatever sort. They have demonstrated that they will unrelentingly persist in their resistance no matter how long it takes,” he said.
“The only way out is multinational negotiations in which the Taliban participate as fully vested members. Russia and China, hoping to stem the tide of Takfiri terrorism gaining a foothold on their borders, have already stepped into the breach,” he said.
“Late in 2016, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials met in Moscow calling for a flexible approach towards working with the Taliban to foster a peaceful dialogue,” the researched argued.
“The Taliban have also maintained strong links to China, having sent a delegation to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in July 2016 and declaring that they will protect Chinese interests in a $3 billion copper mining project in the northern part of the country,” he stated.
“The best case scenario for peace in Afghanistan is multilateral negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban, Pakistan, Russia and China to establish a government of national unity in which the Taliban are full participants,” the analyst noted.
“As with the recently brokered ceasefire in Syria there is no need for US/NATO involvement. In fact, as Trump has previously stated, it’s time for the US to get out and go home. Let the adults resolve the issues that the US and its NATO allies have only exacerbated,” he advised.
“But will Trump do as he says? Will he let others succeed where the US has failed? Only time will tell,” he concluded.
It came as a big surprise that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently labeled members of the US-led coalition as promise breakers and supporters of terrorists. According to the Turkish leader, this coalition provides support to various terrorist groups, including ISIS, YPG, PYD and Ankara has the evidence to back up that claim.
But what exactly offended Ankara so much? Over the past few days, Turkey has been suffering extremely painful defeats from the Islamic State in the Syrian city of Al-Bab. Previously the troops employed in the Euphrates Shield operation successfully taken western suburbs of Al-Bab were planning to occupy the heights overlooking the city. However, ten days ago the “shield” cracked, when ISIS units opposed Turkish troops in a frontal assault, inflicting heavy losses upon the Turkish army. Radical militants report that in just one Turkey lost up to 70 soldiers and three modern tank. Immediately after the announcement ISIS started spreading videos featuring the destruction of Turkish armored vehicles. The Turkish General Staff announced that it lost 14 servicemen, 10 German manufactured Leopard tanks, an M-60 main battle tank, personnel carriers and a Cobra armored vehicle. The pictures that can be found now on the Internet depict Turkish armored vehicles severely damaged by TOW missiles that in recent years have “suddenly” started appearing in the hands of ISIS radicals.
But nobody should be really surprised at this point, as Turkish media were reporting in late December that Washington was stepping up its weapons supply efforts to radicals via the Syrian Al-Hasakah Governorate. It’s been noted that as the US Ambassador to Ankara, John Bass kept persuading Turkish reporters that Washington was not supporting militants directly, the airfield in the Syrian city of Rumeylan saw an ever increasing number of US transport planes landing. The payload that they were carrying would soon be transported by US helicopters to different parts of the country. According to Turkish journalists, the last large delivery of weapons occurred on the evening of 27 December. It has also been noted that weapons are being delivered to Syria via hundreds of trucks, carrying their deadly cargo from the Iraqi city of Erbil to the areas controlled by the Syrian Kurds.
We have seen various commentators noting that under the guise of military assistance to the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Obama administration is actively assisting various extremist groups in Syria by secretly supplying them to with all sorts of weapons, along with the so-called “advisers” in a bid to topple the legitimate Syrian government.
It’s no coincidence that after the liberation of Aleppo, Syrian troops found stockpiles of weapons and explosives manufactured in the US, Germany and Bulgaria, including a large quantity of anti-tank missiles.
While the Aleppo operation has been a turning point in the Syrian armed conflict, the White House is still in a hurry to provide maximum support to the so-called “moderate opposition” in Syria, but now it’s clear for pretty much everyone that Washington is assisting ISIS. Last December alone Turkish bloggers spotted the passage of three large cargo ships through the Bosporus Strait, presumably carrying arms for the Syrian rebels. In particular, in mid-December a freighter Karina Danica left the Bulgarian shore, while heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with weapons on board, reports Bosphorus Observer on Twitter. This data is confirmed by a specialized tracking site known as MarineTraffic. It is a publicly known fact that the freighter Karina Danica is a Danish vessel, chartered by the American company Cherming, which is the official supplier of non-standard NATO weapons for the US “allies” in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. It’s curious that the Bulgarian Vazovski Machine-Building Plant that sells weapons to Cherming, increased its sales by 12 times in 2016, making a profit of 170 million dollars.
What makes this whole arms supplies story awkward is the scandal that broke out in 2015, when the Chairman of the Iraqi Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security, Hakim Zamili asked PM Haider al-Abadi to intervene immediately to stop the 300 million dollar ammunition deal involving Romanian weapons being delivered to ISIS directly, while financed by one of the neighboring countries. In 2016, the director of the Conflict Armament Research, James Bevan stated that the weapons from Eastern Europe that were officially designated for the so-called “moderate opposition” are falling in extremist hands.
The decision to supply anti-government troops in Syria with all sorts of weapons, including MANPADS, that was signed by President Barack Obama on December 23, may lead to the further escalation of the Syrian conflict and new victims.
So there’s more than enough reason for Ankara’s resentment of the Obama administration, since it is directly responsible for every single Turkish soldier murdered by radical militants.
LONDON – The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) slammed on Thursday a speech by the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, saying his comments pose a danger for Palestinians’ rights, particularly the right of return.
According to PRC, the call of Kerry to resettle refugees in countries other than their homes is unacceptable and is a flagrant violation of the international law.
On the basis of its committed position in defending the rights of Palestinian refugees and as an organization in special consultative status with the UN ECOSOC, PRC confirmed that breaching the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees is against international law, UN resolutions, and the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, which all grant the right of return.
PRC added that ignoring the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees will indeed make attempts to achieve peace fail.
It noted that any discussions or negotiations should be based on and comply with international law. The right of return is well enshrined in international law.
PRC further stated that the reference of Kerry to the Nakba and Palestinian refugees’ plight is a new recognition of their suffering, adding that the only way to end it is to allow them to return to their native homes and villages.
On Wednesday, Kerry delivered a lengthy speech as part of his so-called “comprehensive peace vision.”
Israel will not abide by the UN Security Council’s demands for Tel Aviv to halt its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian lands, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” the statement from the PM’s office said, according to Reuters.
The Obama administration “failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN,” and what is even worse, “colluded with it behind the scenes,” the statement added.
In order to “negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution,” Israel is looking forward to working with President-elect Trump and with “all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike.”
Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal – countries who along with Malaysia and Venezuela tabled the draft resolution – were immediately ordered to return to Tel Aviv for consultations.
Earlier, the Israeli ambassador to the council, Danny Danon slammed the vote as a “victory for terror, a victory for hatred and violence.”
“Who gave you the right to issue such a decree, denying our eternal rights in Jerusalem?” he added.
The UN Security Council resolution, demanding an end to the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, was adopted with 14 of 15 UNSC members voting in favor. The US was the only nation to abstain from voting.
The US defended its abstention from Israeli criticism by stating that one “cannot champion settlements and the two state solution” at the same time. The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said the US did not veto the resolution as it “reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with US policy.”
The main US pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC, said it was “deeply disturbed” by the Obama administration’s reluctance to use its veto in what it described as a “destructive, one-sided, anti-Israel resolution.”
The UN Security Council has passed a resolution demanding an end to the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories after the US abstained from voting.
The resolution was introduced to the UNSC by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal on Friday, a day after Egypt withdrew reportedly under pressure from Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump.
Earlier, Trump and Israeli authorities also called on the US to veto the resolution. The document was eventually adopted with 14 of 15 UNSC members voting in favor. The US was the only nation to abstain from voting.
It is the first resolution passed by the UNSC on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in almost eight years.
The Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon criticized the US’ decision to abstain. However, he expressed his confidence that the new US president would “no doubt” usher in a new era in UN-Israeli ties, as well as the new UN Secretary General.
The US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power responded to the Israeli envoy’s criticism by stressing that one “cannot champion settlements and the two state solution” at the same time. She went on to say that the US did not veto the resolution as it “reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with US policy.”
Power also stressed that continued settlement building “undermines” Israel’s own security.
Meanwhile, US House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced US abstention by calling it “absolutely shameful” and describing it as a “blow to peace.” The US Republican senator, John McCain, went further and said that the abstention in the UNSC vote made the US “complicit in this outrageous attack” against Israel, reported Reuters.
Danon earlier said that the resolution served as “the condemnation of the sole democracy in the Middle East [Israel].”
The UNSC was initially scheduled to vote on the resolution on Thursday but Egypt pulled its text at the last minute, postponing the vote until after the wrapup of the Arab League ministerial meeting in Cairo. According to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exerted heavy pressure on Egyptian President Abdel Sissi urging him to delay the vote.
Netanyahu also urged the US to veto the vote on the “anti-Israel resolution” on Wednesday night in a short tweet.
The current Obama administration previously expressed its disapproval of Israeli settlement policies, which Tel Aviv has pursued since 1967. However, in 2011, Washington vetoed a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
Israel occupied Palestinian territories in 1967. Now, more than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements built on occupied territories. Meanwhile, Palestinians have been seeking full independence for the occupied territories for decades and demand full recognition as a sovereign state from both the UN and the international community.
A report published by The Century Foundation (TCF), a US-based policy think tank, helps shed light on the inner workings of the small northern city of Idlib, Syria.
Idlib is to US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization Jabhat Al Nusra (also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham or Al Qaeda in Syria) as the eastern Syrian city of Al Raqqa is to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (IS).
It is also home to a wide range of other militant groups cooperating with the terrorist organization, as well as a myriad of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) funded and directed by the US, Europe, Turkey and the Gulf states.
And while great hope resides within statements of US, European and Gulf state politicians, echoed across their respective media platforms for this city’s possible role as an alternative “capital” for an alternative “government,” opposed to the current Syrian nation-state, TCF’s report dumps a cold bucket of water on what was but a spark, not even a flame of hope.
The “Opposition” Exists Solely Through the Support of Foreign Interests
The report titled, “Keeping the Lights On in Rebel Idlib,” describes a city so dangerous and dysfunctional, the authors of the report could not even venture there to conduct their interviews, which were instead conducted remotely from the other side of the Turkish-Syrian border.
The report even admits that the “provincial council” meant to replace the Syrian government remained based in Turkey for years and still maintains an office there today.
The report states:
In Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, residents have established local governance bodies that provide needed services and simultaneously pose a political challenge to the regime of Bashar al-Assad. No overarching authority has replaced the state after it was forced from Idlib. Islamist and jihadist armed groups hold power at the local level, and have developed relatively sophisticated service coordination bodies. Yet ultimate decision-making power has typically sat with donor organizations outside the country.
The report points out that armed groups compete not only for influence within Idlib, but also for access to the constant stream of resources foreign donor organizations provide. The report admits that this foreign aid (dominated by USAID) sustains Idlib’s occupiers, who themselves lack the ability to unify the city, fund any of their activities, let alone challenge the Syrian state.
The report also admits that initially the Syrian government was able to protect Idlib’s urban centers, and that they only fell after the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey was taken over. This suggests that an influx of weapons, supplies and fighters over the border from Turkey, with Turkish and other state-sponsors’ backing, helped turn the tide against Syrian forces, not the momentum of the “uprising” itself.
Idlib province is now one of the few regions in the country that still has an unsecured border with Turkey, making it no surprise that Idlib remains one of the few areas still left beyond the Syrian government’s control. The report also admits terrorist organizations (Ahrar al-Sham and Al Nusra) dominate this remaining region, contrary to US and European rhetoric.
Dysfunction in Idlib Mirrors Failed Intervention in Libya, Afghanistan
The TCF report explores the various facets of dysfunction plaguing Idlib including corruption, nepotism and interference from armed groups. The crippling dependency on foreign aid and the constant infighting is not only the shape of things to come nationwide should the Syrian government ever be toppled, but it is also a reflection of Libya post US-NATO intervention, or even US-occupied Afghanistan.
With contractors interested only in getting paid, and local groups being consumed with infighting, Idlib provides the latest example of failed US-European “nation building.”
Idlib a Failed City, Would Preside Over a Failed Nation
The report refers to Idlib as a “microcosm of the war.” It states:
Idlib’s governance and service sector has been, in many ways, a microcosm of the Syrian war and Idlib’s fractious rebel scene. As with the province’s armed opposition, an existing tendency towards localism and disparate, uncoordinated streams of external support have resulted in a service sector that is discombobulated and fractious.
Even if the US and its allies believed it was politically possible to announce Idlib as an alternative “capital” to Damascus, Idlib in reality could never serve such a role. Between its small size, the fact that it is transparently dominated by armed terrorists and completely dependent on foreign aid means that Idlib cannot even administer itself, nor the province it resides in, let alone the entire country. Any nation subjected to “rule” from the failed city of Idlib, would without doubt be a failed nation.
All Idlib could ever be used for is the illusion of viable opposition. The city and province’s administration is as artificial as the armed conflict its current state of dysfunction resulted from. Both city and provincial administration depends entirely on foreign support that is interested only in the overthrow of Damascus, not Idlib’s peace and prosperity.
Like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, once the war is over and regime change accomplished, contractors will seek to make as much money “nation building” as possible, interested more in returning home to spend their new fortunes than leaving behind a functioning and “free” nation state.
The report concludes with the question of whether or not the Syrian government could reassert itself in Idlib. The Syrian government possesses absolutely everything the current “administrators” of Idlib lack, namely unity, ability and resources. Just as is happening across Aleppo, when areas are finally returned back to Syrian control and the supply of foreign aid, weapons and support is removed, so too is the illusion of opposition.
As Russian forces help liberate the Syrian city of Aleppo this week from a four-year terrorist siege, Washington and Europe step up threats of cyber war and economic aggression with sanctions. That’s no coincidence. It is the response of accomplices bitter in defeat.
Perverse isn’t it? Instead of celebrating with the people of Syria over the liberation of Aleppo from terrorists; instead of sending massive humanitarian aid to the tens of thousands of civilians freed after being held under siege for four years by terrorist gangs; instead of commending Russia for its decisive role in restoring peace to Syria’s second biggest city, the US and European Union turn reality on its head and further demonize Moscow.
The perverse behavior by Washington and its European satraps is simply a case of sour grapes. Very sour grapes.
They have been proven spectacularly wrong about Syria. The liberation of Aleppo this week exposes the Western governments and media in their unrelenting falsehoods and systematic complicity in the Syrian war. This was never a pro-democracy uprising. It was a Western-backed criminal regime-change operation that was unleashed in March 2011, and which is now staring at ignominious defeat.
The blood of up to half a million people and many more maimed is on the hands of American and European governments.
It is no coincidence that Barack Obama this week invoked his putative presidential authority to double down on US intelligence claims that Russia hacked into the American elections to get Donald Trump into the White House. The stakes were raised to new unwieldy heights with White House claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally sanctioned the alleged hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails. And Obama is now recklessly warning that his country will respond with cyber-warfare «at a place and time of our choosing».
Meanwhile, European Union leaders this week decreed that economic and diplomatic sanctions on Russia would be extended for another six months. The official reason for the measures was the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, but it is obvious that the dramatic developments in Syria were the real motivating factor behind the EU’s decision to further penalize Russia.
Addressing the EU summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel deplored atrocities allegedly committed in the northern city of Aleppo by Syrian state forces and their Russian and Iranian allies. European Council President Donald Tusk lamented that the EU was not «indifferent to the suffering of civilians in Aleppo».
But where is the evidence either from Obama on alleged Russian cyberattacks to subvert the American presidential election or from the EU on alleged Russian (and Syrian) atrocities in Aleppo. There is, glaringly, no evidence. Yet on the back of breathless assertions, Washington is threatening to «retaliate», and European leaders are slapping more damaging sanctions on Russia. This is an insane policy of unjustified aggression.
It is especially insane considering that present and former members of US intelligence agencies do not support the White House’s assertions about Russian cyberattacks. Indeed respected former US intelligence experts have cogently argued that Washington’s claims of Russian hacking are completely spurious. Moreover, two polls reported by the Washington Times and Washington Post this week also show that the majority of American people do not believe that Russia interfered in the US election.
As for the American and European claims about «massacres» in Aleppo, amplified by the dutiful mainstream media all week, there is neither evidence nor testimonies from the tens of thousands of civilians pouring out of the former terror enclaves. The reckless claims are merely propaganda rumors put out by terrorist apologists and recycled by Western media. Perversely unreported in the Western media are the real stories of civilians having lived under horror imposed by the Western-backed so-called «rebels». Largely unreported by the Western media is the dominant mood of celebration and relief among civilians for having been liberated by the combined efforts of the Syrian army and its Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies.
Where are the «moderate rebels» now that the veil of secrecy has finally been lifted from eastern Aleppo? Where are the so-called neutral rescuers belonging to the White Helmets, who only a few weeks ago Western media were championing for a Nobel peace prize? They are all piling on to the same buses with the jihadi terrorists to be evacuated to nearby Idlib city as part of a surrender deal. In other words, the West has been all along backing terrorists, and now their terrorist proxies are seen by the whole world as being routed from Aleppo after four years of holding the eastern side of the city hostage.
Liberated civilians tell of a reign of terror, how their family members were threatened by the Western-backed jihadis with execution if any of them dared to escape from the captive terror enclaves. Buildings recovered by the Syrian army have shown humanitarian aid, medicines and food stockpiled by the terrorists which they used to extort the civilian population. None of this is broadcast by the Western news media of course. Instead, they indulged in gory fantasies about the Syrian army committing summary executions and other atrocities against women and children. Stories, it should be noted, which have since petered out because there is no evidence to back them up.
CNN’s self-important journalist Christiane Amanpour this week gave a platform to an alleged doctor, Hamza al-Khatib, who made unsubstantiated claims that children were being massacred in a basement by Syrian forces. Amanpour expressed horror as if the allegation was fact. The same «fact» was then reiterated by US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. Turns out that Hamza al-Khatib is not even a doctor, according the Aleppo University records, where he once studied.
CNN’s alleged doctor Hamza Al Khatib with head-chopping jihadi friends
In the past, he has been photographed in the company of the jihadi terrorists who were were responsible for the beheading of a 12-year-old Palestinian refugee boy Abdullah Issa near Aleppo. Reliable sources dispute that Hamza al-Khatib is even residing in east Aleppo where he claims to be. It is believed he is hiding out in neighboring Turkey, from where he gives interviews to gullible hacks like Amanpour. (Notice his smirk in the linked interview video when Amanpour naively asks how he remains safe in Aleppo.)
Western lies and fake narratives about Syria were torn asunder this week. Sanctimonious Washington and European lackeys are exposed in their responsibility for fueling the war in Syria by giving cover to terrorist gangs as supposed «moderate rebels».
Western governments, UN diplomats and media organizations are shown to be complicit in a state-sponsored terrorist conspiracy against the Syrian nation.
Russia has played a vital and truly heroic role in saving Syria from a Western-imposed charnel house.
And so, with the bitter taste of defeat over the historic battle for Aleppo, Washington and Europe are lashing out irrationally to further demonize Russia. Cyber war threats and economic aggression through sanctions are the Western response to bitter defeat.
Syrian Army soldier holds up Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) flag in the Umayyed Mosque, Old City, after government troop liberated terrorist-occupied East Aleppo this week (Image: Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire)
DAMASCUS – According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 US Coalition military officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.
This story was quietly leaked by Voltaire.net, who announced, “The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”
Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December (emphasis added):
Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
David Scott Winer – USA
David Shlomo Aram – Israel
Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan
Listen to Fares Shehabi’s interview on the Sunday Wire radio show: Liberation Aleppo
In addition to Voltaire.net, the other original report was provided by Damascus-based Syrian journalist Said Hilal Alcharifi.
According to Alcharifi, captured “NATO” officers were from a number of member states including the US, France, Germany and Turkey, as well as Israel. Here is his statement (translated from French):
“Thanks to information received, Syrian authorities discovered the headquarters of high ranking western/NATO officers in the basement of an area in East Aleppo and have captured them alive. Some names have already been given to Syrian journalists, myself included. The nationalities are US, French, British, German, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi, Moroccan, Qatari etc. In light of their nationalities and their rank, I assure you that the Syrian government have a very important catch, which should enable them to direct negotiations with the countries that have tried to destroy them.”
Although these initial reports describe the individuals in question as “NATO” officers, it’s unlikely they would have been carrying NATO colors on a covert operation – and might be more accurately labeled as US Coalition officers. Note that early reports suggest that these are not standard ‘street rebel’ or jihadi terrorists but actual Coalition military personnel and field commanders.
21WIRE have also received unconfirmed reports yesterday that militants had fired a missile into the Ramousa area and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get cars out of East Aleppo. It’s possible this incident could be related to today reports of captured western operatives.
This report from the Syrian Arab News Agency (emphasis added):
“The agreement on evacuating militants and weapons from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city has been suspended after terrorist groups breached it, special sources told SANA correspondent in Aleppo.
The sources said that the suspension of the agreement will remain in place until obtaining guarantees that oblige the terrorist groups to abide by all the agreement’s provisions, stressing on the Syrian side’s full adherence to the agreement and its keenness to end the bloodshed and restore security and stability to the entire city of Aleppo.”
Earlier, the SANA reporter said that the terrorist groups have breached the agreement as they smuggled heavy weapons, including TOW missiles, heavy machineguns and kidnapped people via the buses and cars transporting terrorists and their families towards the southwestern countryside of Aleppo city.
The reporter added that the terrorist groups fired shells and sniper bullets on the buses and ambulances at al-Ramousseh crossing, noting that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which are supervising the evacuation process had to withdraw all buses and cars from the crossing.
Over the past 24 hours, some 8079 terrorists and members of their families were evacuated on ten batches via busses and ambulances from the neighborhoods of Salah-Eddin, al-Ansari, al-Mashhad and al-Zibdiyeh to the southwest countryside of Aleppo city”
If true, then this latest news would also mean that both the Syrian and Russian governments would have additional leverage going forward in any bilateral negotiations with the US-led Coalition.
If, however, this story is kept under wraps by NATO member governments and summarily blacked out by the US and European media outlets, then it might indicate that a deal has been struck, albeit behind the scenes, for the return of captured NATO operatives in exchange for other concessions.
If today’s report from East Aleppo is accurate, this might also help explain the hysterical behavior by the US State Department and western UN officials who have been demanding “an immediate ceasefire” – despite the fact that 99% of East Aleppo has already been liberated by Syrian government forces.
The western establishment’s hysterical reactions to Al Nusra’s defeat in Aleppo have included wild claims that the Syrian Army had ‘unleashed death squads,’ on its own residents in East Aleppo and were openly ‘executing women and children in the street,’ and ‘burning children in the street,’ as well what appear to be more fictional reports circulated in the US media mainly by Michael Weis of The Daily Beast via CNN, claiming that Syrian Army was committing “mass rape” against residents of East Aleppo. His article entitled, Women in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape, Rebels Report, made a number of outlandish claims including:
“Activists and rebels in the besieged city say mass executions have begun and children are burned alive as Assad’s Iranian- and Russian-backed forces move in.”
Not surprisingly, aside from unnamed “UN sources”, Weiss claims to have got his information from none other than the discredited US and UK-financed pseudo ‘NGO’ known as the White Helmets.
Back in September, numerous reports suggested that a western command center located behind terrorist-held lines had been targeted and destroyed by a Russian missile strike. Prof Michel Chossudovsky wrote:
“The US and its allies had established a Field Operations Room in the Aleppo region integrated by intelligence personnel. Until it was targeted by a Russian missile attack on September 20, this “semi-secret” facility was operated by US, British, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi and Qatari intelligence personnel.”
This report was neither admitted, nor was it denied by US Coalition sources at the time. However, one mainstream Israeli source, The Times of Israel, did report the incident.
For anyone who has been paying close attention to the Syrian Conflict, seeing NATO special forces or “contractors” working with ‘rebel’ or terrorist fighters inside of Syria is nothing unusual. Numerous reports have been filed of British soldiers assigned to fighting groups to help with training, strategy and logistics. In June 2016, The Telegraph admitted that British special forces were helping one rebel group, “… with logistics, like building defences to make the bunkers safe,” said one ‘rebel’ fighter. Other reports, including the LA Times which detailed CIA operations used to arm militants, including Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) who were the terrorist force in charge in East Aleppo. Other revelations of US covert involvement include The New York Times, and also information on US (NATO by another name only) covert operations provided to the Wall Street Journal.
Throughout fighting in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, during the period of May 2014 to the present, numerous incidents have been reported where NATO military soldiers and operatives have been both spotted, and captured by rebel forces, and in most cases these reports have been muted, more than likely because of ‘horse trading’ taking place as an extension of wider diplomacy.
Contributors to this report were Patrick Henningsen and Vanessa Beeley.
Their arrival was announced as the UK hosts a conference of defense ministers from countries involved in the coalition fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The 20 trainers – who are likely to be special forces soldiers – will teach so-called ‘moderate’ fighters infantry skills, combat first aid and other battlefield tactics.
The existing deployment is thought to be made up of around 500 soldiers from the 4 Rifles infantry regiment, which is based near the Kurdish-held city of Erbil alongside specialist soldiers from the Royal Engineers and Royal Signals.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has previously stated that anyone receiving UK training would be vetted to ensure that no knowledge was passed on to jihadist groups.
The deployment of UK special forces has come under increasing scrutiny, with critics claiming that it has now become the basic form of UK military operations and as such should be brought under democratic oversight.
The UK is one of the few countries which flatly refuses to comment on covert military activities to either the media or to questions by elected lawmakers in parliament.
Calls for a new war powers act have been backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, among others, who made his case to the Middle East Eye website in August.
“I’m very concerned about this because [former Prime Minister] David Cameron – I imagine [Prime Minister] Theresa May would say the same – would say parliamentary convention requires a parliamentary mandate to deploy British troops. Except, and they’ve all used the ‘except,’ when special forces are involved,” Corbyn said.
His comments were immediately attacked by former soldier-turned-Tory MP Bob Stewart, who told the Times that the PM must have the opportunity to deploy troops “when they think it’s crucial.”